L Shape Kitchen with Island: Where do I put the sink?

wamotApril 25, 2014

Hi, all........

I decided to put a hold on my purchase plan based on Lowe's promotion and I want to get more advise before I place the cabinet order. Thanks for all the advise I got here!

See my previous post here:

In the new design, I switched the sink/dishwasher from the island to the L perimeter: compromised the view(facing bark yard when place sink on island) to get a complete surface on the island, and enough storage(two 24'' drawer base and a 36'' door base with two roll-out-tray) in the island base.

What is better for resell? A beverage fridge by the sink or a second dishwasher?

This post was edited by wamot on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 22:13

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The view is from the family room.

The door by the french door fridge leads to mudroom/garage/half bath/pantry.

The door by the mini fridge leads to living/dining room.

The window and door on right are facing back yard.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Fridge to Island: 42''

L counter to Island: 36''

Window to Island: 42''

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:15PM
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Mudroom design changed, I took the bench out and put two bigger 36'' full height pantry. One of the pantry will have 4 roll-out tray, the other will have 8 shelvings(might use it as a shoe closet.....)

To the left of the pantries is the door to garage, to the right of the pantries is a built-in closet and a half bath.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:27PM
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Help please!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:28AM
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Usually the layout is flipped in your configuration--the sink is under the window, moving the mudroom doorway to the opposite corner. That way you have the view and light for prep at the sink, and the people at the island would be facing windows and doorway to the backyard. Have you played with that configuration at all?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:45AM
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Your sink is way too far from your fridge. Think about your workflow- remove from fridge, rinse or wash, prep, then cook. I would switch the stove and sink locations.

Also, you are in front of your sink a lot more than in front of your stove and there looks like more room in front of the current stove, so that is a better place for a sink all around.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:17PM
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I wouldn't particular care about having the sink under the window (I don't spend a lot of time at the sink), but I would prefer to have the sink between the fridge and the range (unless you can add a prep sink there -- although it's nice to keep the cleanup sink out of the prep and cooking area, its also better to have the flow go - fridge/sink/prep/cooking.

One other thing I'll mention - 42" from island to window wouldn't be terrible, but I see stools under the island. We had a couple of casual stools at our island with the same aisle width, and it will be tight, considering that's a walkway (ours was the walkway from the front hall to the family room, but we never sat at the stools for meals -- usually it was just one person perching there, so not in the way).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:17PM
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Why do you have to choose between the bev fridge and a 2nd dw? Can't you put in another cabinet? To me it looks like you could use more drawers.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Thank you for the inputs. I have two 24'' drawer bases and a 36'' roll-out-tray door base under the island, and two 36'' pantries in the mudroom.

I thought the storage is enough, cost-wise putting appliances is about the same as putting a drawer base, and either beverage fridge or dishwasher can also function as storage.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:08PM
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Think about where you are going to put your dishes, pots and pans, etc. Personally it would not be enough for me in my kitchen but you need to think it out.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:19PM
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We are a young family of two......but are growing......I think I will put two 24'' pot/pan drawer based on the L side.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:26PM
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I've seen kitchens similar to this (L-shape with island and only windows on wall with no cabinets) when I was helping my mom look for a new home. They weren't very inviting and felt like they were not well designed...

If you're worried about resale, I wouldn't do this. If you could put the sink under the window and then have the island facing the sink...then someone can look out the window from the sink and also from the stools.

This would be a much better layout, IMHO. Do the doorways exist as they are in the plan now...or are you moving them for the new layout?

What is the brown door? Does that go outside? Could you replace it with a slider from the dining room or maybe a door closer to those windows? It would give you a bit more counter space on that wall.

Obviously, you can do whatever you like for your remodel :) But if you want to think about resale, picture how it will be used by yourself and any future families. Most people will want a view...or at least the light.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:46PM
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am afraid it is not possible to change the doorway, because the doorway is actually the mudroom, one side of it is the backyard(the window side), the other side is the garage.

The window is actually large picture window with seat, they are kind of low, so it would require quite some work to put the counter there. The brown door leads to the backyard, and there is a walk-out door from the basement between the window and the brown door, so it is very hard to move either the window or the brown door. And we certain will not be able to do any addition on the house for the time being, so we have to work with what we got.......

Do you think it would be better if we give up the overhang of the island, lose the sitting but gain more space around the island? The kitchen and island opens to the family room, but we can set it up as a dining room.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:03PM
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I suggest you mock up a 36" walkway (is this cabinet to cabinet, or countertop overhang to countertop overhang?) Then, place an open dishwasher door into that. See if it's something comfortable maneuvering around. Now, see if you can maneuver around that with a hot pot of pasta needing to be drained. Then, see if you can do that with a little kid trying to get something out of the dishwasher at the same time. It's a bit tight, but maybe you'll be ok with it in all those scenarios?

If you want your sink on the wall, have you considered doing an opening over it that looks into the living room or dining room, whichever is across the way? It could just be the perspective of the renderings, but the space looks long and narrow. A framed opening to the other room would help it feel less claustrophobic and would give you a nice connection to the rest of the house.

If you are ok with your walkway widths, maybe you might want the cleanup sink in the island so that you can look out the window while there. If you did this, you could do a hutch style upper cabinet all the way down to the counter at the end of the long L.

It might make the most sense to limit the seating to one stool at the skinny end of the island run nearest the family room. This would let you shrink up the depth of the island and give you more walkway space all the way around.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:03PM
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Window seat??? Now, you've got my attention! Much better :)

That changes a lot...I like the window seat and I can see why the doors and basement access make this more of a challenge.

While I would like some stools, I also would like the window seat. Have you considered a U-shape with stools, rather than an L with island? If it would fit, I'd try fridge on first wall, range on second (as you have it now) and sink on peninsula. That would keep your window seat and give you stools...with plenty of room in the kitchen work space.

If there's enough area left over...maybe a mobile work cart, rather than an island. What are your dimensions? I think it's a good idea to wait on ordering from Lowe's until you're sure what you want to do :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:16PM
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Thank you for following up. The current kitchen is 11' by 11', and there is wall separate it from the family room(we are going to take the wall off). After that, the workable space will be 11' by 15'-16'.....If you notice the doorway next to the long side of L, it leads to the living/formal dining room, and this is the reason for us to consider L with island over U shape: it is easier to get to the dining room from the kitchen.

Please see the before photo.....the kitchen is so small, I can not get a full view.... doorway on right leads to mudroom, and yes, they had carpet in the kitchen....

This post was edited by wamot on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 23:26

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:25PM
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Another before.... the window with seat.....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:29PM
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The view of mudroom from kitchen....half bath in the far end....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:32PM
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Current family room, the paneled wall will be taken down, kitchen is behind that wall.....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 11:38PM
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I can see why you did not choose U shape, but it is still an option worth considering, no kitchen is perfect, everyone has to do some compromise.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:55AM
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What are the dimensions of your current proposed island?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:05PM
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The island is 3' by 8', including the overhangs.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 12:21PM
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That's a long island. Maybe make it shorter?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Do you know that Loww's has an online virtual designer that will show overheads and dimensions, too? Is that what you are using or is a KD doing your rendering for you?

If you email yourself a link to your plan you can share it with us and we can tweak it. I am surprised there is not an accurate representation for your window, too. You can adjust heights from floor, I do know that.

It seems as though if your kitchen is so tight you cannot get it all in a shot you probably don't have room for an island. But good overheads with dimensions and to scale would help us all understand better.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:25AM
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If you want to keep the L shape....have you considered having the fridge on the end closest to the dining area?

If it would fit in the space, I would try fridge and range (where it is now) on the long wall and sink/dishwasher on the short wall...with a prep sink on the end of the island closest to the dining area. Maybe a foot or two, sink and then larger prep area across from range.

Just an idea, but it would give you easier access to fridge from LR and DR, as well as a great prep space looking out the window. My only concern is traffic space behind the stools, when someone is sitting there...but with the fridge on the end for easier access....maybe that won't be such a concern :)

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 13:58

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:57PM
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Are your aisle measurements cab to cab? I think they might be because when I do the math based on your dimensioned drawing on your initial thread, I come up with a 36" and a 40" aisle.

-25.5" (cabs with 1.5" counter overhang)
-36" (island width)

Your 36" work aisle will shrink between range and island counter edge because most ranges extend 2-3 - or more - inches beyond the counter edge.

The 40" aisle between island and window seat is not wide enough for people to walk between 2 seating areas - island seating and window seating. Neither of these seating areas are generous in depth so people will tend to spill over into the aisle more than if the seating areas were deeper. That will be a problem, IMO, not just because that aisle looks to be a main aisle through your home but because it crowds the back door. I'm assuming it's an in-swing door, which means that the person seated at the right end of the aisle could get bumped or asked to move when people go in and out of that door.

And while this is a one-cook kitchen, I'm betting it's not a one-person kitchen. People will come in to get drinks, food, get a glass or plate, etc. and your aisles will see more activity than you anticipate.

Here are three potential lay-outs that don't put such stress on your aisles.

The first is a U-layout with peninsula. It's basic but functional with 3 seats at the peninsula.

I deepened the cabs next to the fridge to make it seem more built-in. That extra deep counter will be a good location for toasters or toaster ovens, coffee makers, etc.

I also made the peninsula overhang deeper (it's 18.5") than the minimum required overhang (15") so that anyone sitting there isn't on top of the sink, so to speak.

Those seated at the peninsula will have a nice view out to the backyard. You can also add a cushion to the window seat to take advantage of that seating area.

This next plan builds on the basics of the above plan. It's an L with island and peninsula.

I moved the fridge to the FR wall with a narrow pull-out cab between it and the wall so that you can open the fridge doors wide enough to pull drawers out. I also recessed the fridge to reduce its depth a bit. I assumed 3", might be a bit more, might be a bit less. The 38" aisle is counter edge to fridge door (assuming 33" depth, box and door), not fridge handles. Since the handles aren't directly across from the island, I didn't feel it necessary to subtract them from the aisle's width.

By eliminating the left U portion, I had room to add an island, 27" wide and 75" long (guessing a bit on the length since the peninsula depth extends beyond the measurements you provided). That's large enough for a prep sink, which means that you can prep at the island and look out the windows.

As with Plan A, peninsula seating has a nice view out back and you can also add a cushion to the window seat for more seating.

Plan C is nearly the mirror image of Plan B, except it does not include either island or peninsula seating. You will, however, have seating at the window seat so there will be an area in the kitchen for casual seating and visiting with the cook. If your kitchen table isn't far away, I don't think island or peninsula seating is a must for your kitchen.

Pluses with this plan are that the fridge is at the end of the kitchen closest to the kitchen table and the FR. You won't need a beverage fridge with this plan because of that placement.

I could have made the island longer but I opted to avoid the pinch point in front of the fridge, the busiest appliance in a kitchen.

Another plus is that you have more cabinet and counter space between the sink and the range.

As with Plan B, the island with prep sink gives you the opportunity to look out the windows while getting dinner ready.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Oooo! I really like Plan A from Lisa! I know you probably have your heart on an island, but that U-shape looks really functional, keeps the kitchen seating and still gives the sink a great view! And no obstructions.

That being said, I *had to have* an island in my kitchen, was warned I might find it a little tight, but now that it's all built, I LOVE it. Have been using it for about 4 months and it's very functional for our lifestyle. If resale value isn't everything to you, feel free to do what you love with the space!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:09PM
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Lisa- Great job with the sketches!

I 'borrowed' a couple and made a few changes. This would add a mobile cart/work table to the U-shape or perhaps a few stools to the L-shape. Even one might help :) From Kitchen plans From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Thank you for providing so many inspiring ideas for me! I think you are much more knowledgable and into details than my kitchen designer at Lowe's.

I never realized the door swing issue before you mention it. I very much like the your 'U' shape design, and I also agree with lavender_lass's idea of mobile cart(maybe a butcher's block will look very nice there).

I am struggling between L with island(no seating) and U shape......

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Thank you for providing so many inspiring ideas for me! I think you are much more knowledgable and into details than my kitchen designer at Lowe's.

I never realized the door swing issue before you mention it. I very much like the your 'U' shape design, and I also agree with lavender_lass's idea of mobile cart(maybe a butcher's block will look very nice there).

I am struggling between L with island(no seating) and U shape......

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 9:21PM
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A small movable island might work in the U lay-out (Plan A) but I'm not sure how useful it would be given how small it would need to be, especially since it will be somewhat of a barrier island (in direct path from fridge to sink).

I estimate that you'll have 117" between fridge face (door, not handles) and sink counter edge - that's counter to fridge face, not cab to fridge face. If you subtract 80" (2 - 40" aisles) from that, you end up with an island 37" long x 27" wide (42" aisles between island counter and range counter and 43" between island and window wall). Any longer than that and you'll find yourself constantly shifting it back and forth to move it out of the way. In other words, I'd make it fit the space so that even though it is on wheels, it stays put most of the time. I linked to one from IKEA with a great price and about the right size.

How would you use a small island in your kitchen?

I like Plan C, too. It will have seating - window seating - just not island or peninsula seating. Perhaps not what you'd envisioned initially but we often have to adjust our kitchen dreams to fit reality (dang it). ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA small, moveable island

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 2:02AM
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Thank you for following up. We can actually make the kitchen longer(eating up more space from the adjacent family room). So we can have around 45'-48' for a island or cart.....we are dreaming of a 2' by 4' island, or may be a little smaller.....we are not going to place any appliance under the island counter, instead we put two 24'' drawer bases or one 30'' door base with roll-out and a 15'' pull-out waste basket. The island will be a prep space, and maybe the place to put a fruit bowl or vase..........

We think we can push the sink further away from the window seat/main aisle, so the island-to-range-aisle might be right behind us when we use the sink in the future.

Beside, since the overall depth of the room is 137.5'' and we don't do any seating around the island, so it should be OK for the aisle space. 44''(window seat to island base)+ 3.5''(approximate overhangs of island and counter) + 24''(island base depth) + 24''(perimeter counter base depth) + 42'' (island base to perimeter counter)....

For the mobile cart, I like the IKEA one, but I notice they can get expensive...like the one I attach is here is for around $1500, reclaimed pine with limestone top......

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:15AM
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Pushing the kitchen out to the right on your plan will decrease the amount of space you have for a kitchen table so you need to be careful about robbing Peter to pay Paul.

You should aim for 60" between peninsula counter edge and table for a back-to-back seating aisle (less than that and it will be difficult for people to easily walk from kitchen into your FR when people are seated at table and peninsula) and no less than 36" between table and wall on the far right. 36" will allow someone to edge past a seated diner but since this isn't a main walk-way, that's doable.

If your table is 42" wide, you'll need 138" of space between far right wall and peninsula counter edge. You have just about that with my Plan A. You could steal a few inches by going with a 36" wide table but that's about it. Anything narrower than that and you won't have sufficient foot room to comfortable accommodate people seated facing each other.

One other option for stealing space from the kitchen table area for the kitchen is to do a banquette along the far right wall. Then you'd only need 122"-124" for the kitchen table area (24" deep bench, ample enough for a slanted, cushioned back, 2"-4" table overhang, 42" table and 60" aisle between table and peninsula).

Now if you don't plan to have a kitchen table in the space, that's a different matter. And if you don't, how do you intend to use that space?

Buehl mentioned this on your thread about island size: you really should calculate aisles with counter overhang. As she wrote, a 42" aisle cab to cab is 39" counter to counter. An island comprised of two 24" cabs is not 48" long but 51" long. Recommended aisle widths are always counter to counter (or counter to appliance, when applicable). Not calculating your aisles this way doesn't gain you a thing because it's not going to provide you with actual aisle clearances.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 2:24PM
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Warmot- I love that island!

Since it can be moved, I wouldn't worry too much about the dimensions. It will fit and if you need more space on one side, you can slide the island/table over a bit and have more flexibility.

Having the stool seating on the peninsula, the comfy window seat and the work island for prep will be the best scenario, IMHO :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Wamot: that movable island you posted at $1500, is probably pretty close to what you'd spend on the same amount of cabinets plus countertop. In that respect, it's a bit of a bargain.

I missed it, but what are you doing to the fireplace? Did you consider inverting the plan?

I will say, that your window seat really helps relieve some of the pressure of space on the one side. While technically the aisle is the same width, it won't "feel" nearly as tight. I have a window seat as an "odd" feature that I had to work around in my L shape (island) and it actually provides quite a bit of visual and spatial relief to my narrow space (which is slightly wider than yours).

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 4:04PM
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With all due respect to LL, I disagree that just because an island is movable, you don't need to worry about its dimensions. If it's over-sized for the space - in other words, doesn't allow comfortable aisles - you'll need to move it so often that it will be a PITA. It's not going to be a light little thing that is easy to shift, it's going to have some weight to it, especially if it has a stone top and has additional weight from the items you store on it. I would find an island that fits the size so that you only need to move it on rare occasions, not on a frequent basis.

I drew up 2 variations of the U lay-out with an island and banquette seating. This allows you a 27" x 44" island, which I think is large enough to be useful.

The aisle measurements are fridge (handles included, est 35" deep) to island counter, island counter to sink run counter, range run counter to island counter, peninsula counter to exterior wall, peninsula counter to table and table to wall.

Oops, I forgot to adjust the above plan to show two 24" cabs to the left of the range. I do show that on Plan A-2.

The plus with the banquette in this plan is that those seated on the bench can slide in and out without asking someone to slide out first. The downside is that clearances between the table and top and bottom walls is a bit tighter than recommended (44" for walk-behind aisles). You could center the banquette and have nearly 39" at each end instead of slightly off-center as I drew it.

Here's a variation of the above.

This plan creates an L banquette, which allows room for wider aisles at the top and room for a 30" cabinet next to the table. You can use this as your Command Central. The downside is that the person seated in the lower right corner will need to ask someone to move in order to get in and out. Some people are okay with that, others hate it.

Here's an issue with both plans. It's a heck of a long hike - more than 11' - from fridge to sink in this plan. That definitely more than is recommended by the NKBA and for good reason.

I'd like to see a water source between fridge and sink. However, the island just isn't long enough for a prep sink, IMO (I agree with a wise CMKBD, whose name escapes me at present, who advises against a prep sink in an island less than 60"). One option is to switch out the 36" corner Susan and make it a 36" corner sink cab for a prep sink. But ... then what purpose will the island serve?

I agree that it would be nice to have a little more counter to the right of the sink, say by making that corner a 36" Susan cab, but that reduces the aisle between peninsula and exterior wall to 39". If there wasn't an in-swing door right there, that could be doable but since there is, I think a wider aisle here would be better.

Which is higher on your wish list: an island or counter seating? If the former, I think Plan C is the better option for you. It has a good flow plus it leaves sufficient room for a kitchen table; no need to resort to a banquette.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 4:30PM
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This will be the dining table we put. It is a simple reclaimed teak table with benches.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 9:04PM
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